stealing the rights to The Murderess from
Will and giving it to Brett, Heather cautioned Brett
not to go back on their deal. Brett promised
that he would give Heather the starring role in
the film. Stormy was shocked to learn that
Brett was running Sunset Studios. James
and Brooke announced their plans to remarry. Alex
and Marilee made plans for their new venture into
the natural gas industry. Heather made plans to
break things off with Will, but he presented her
with a diamond necklace before she could follow
through. Ethan accused Heather of being the
mole who stole the script from Jaguar Studios.
Brooke saw a mysterious person following her.
Will vowed revenge against James for stealing
The Murderess from him. At Brett's
request, Gwen continued giving James the pills that
would keep him immobile. Stormy and Heather
made peace with their impending divorce.
days later the house was busy with preparations for James and Brooke’s
wedding. Against James’s insistence,
Brooke had arranged for a much simpler ceremony than their first almost a year
earlier. Only family was invited for the
exchange of vows in the library. After
some coaxing by Brooke, James agreed that an elaborate wedding wasn’t
necessary. They were going to be married
and that was the most important thing.
was in the bedroom getting dressed when Miranda entered in a simple wine
colored dress, her black hair pinned up in an elegant style. She looked at Brooke and was immediately
reminded of the last time her father married the former make-up girl. She hadn’t been present during the ceremony
because she’d been off in Vegas marrying Brett.
The car accident, the heated exchange with her father, and the
disappointment that he was marrying someone else had brought her emotions to a
boiling point. As much as she hated the
idea that they were getting re-married, she didn’t wish to have a repeat
performance. One thing she couldn’t do,
however, was bite her tongue about her true feelings.
minister just arrived,” Miranda announced as she strode into the room carrying
a small bouquet of white roses. “Are
you almost ready?”
Brooke said and turned toward the young woman.
“Miranda, I’m glad you’re here because I want to talk to you.”
want to talk to you too,” Miranda said with a flourish. “Brooke, I know we’ve had our differences,
and I’m not going to pretend I’m happy about this marriage, but I want you to
know that if you’re what my father wants, then I’m not going to try to spoil it
good,” Brooke replied evenly. “Because I
won’t let you. Miranda, I love your
father. We’re going to have a baby. Even if you wanted to, there’s nothing you
could do to stop that. You could even
run me over with your car like last time and we’d still be getting married
today. I just want you to know that.”
set her jaw and stepped forward. “Just
as long as you know that I won’t let you hurt him again,” she said. “So if there are any more secret husbands or
affairs that you’re trying to hide-“
aren’t,” Brooke cut her off. “James is
very lucky to have you looking out for him.
I’m sure he appreciates it. But I
guarantee I’m not going to do anything to hurt him.”
hope not. For your sake.”
Miranda left the room, Brooke turned back to the mirror and examined her
reflection. Somehow she felt a little
more at ease now that she and Miranda had it out. It wasn’t going to be easy, but at least they
understood each other.
James was in the library seated in his wheelchair by the fireplace. He heard someone enter and looked up as
Stormy approached him timidly, dressed handsomely in a dapper black tuxedo.
I need to talk to you,” Stormy began. “I
know this is a busy day for you but things can’t go on the way they have
been. I need to explain to you why I
didn’t come back when I heard about your operation.”
James turned away in an effort to avoid eye contact with
his son. “I don’t think this is the best
time, Stormy,” he said dismissively.
has to be,” Stormy replied as he
walked toward him. “I don’t want this
tension to continue between us.
Especially today. It's your
took in a deep breath and nodded his head reluctantly. “You’re right, Son,” he began. “This is a special day for all of us. There’s no room for petty arguments. I know you were only doing what you had to
do. You’re a grown man and you have a
life of your own. I shouldn’t expect you
to run back at the first sign of trouble.”
isn’t that I don’t care,” Stormy announced.
“You know that, don’t you? I love
you, Dad. I always have.”
looked at him and felt his eyes tearing up.
He nodded with a smile and extended his hand to him. “I love you too, Son,” he said as they shook
hands. “And I’m glad you’re here today
to stand up for me. I’d like you to be
my best man in the ceremony if that’s okay.”
grinned happily and nodded with acceptance.
“I’d be happy to,” he said, then paused hesitantly. “What about Brett? I know the two of you have gotten close these
past few months. Are you sure you don’t
want him to stand up for you?”
shook his head. “You’re my son. Brett has
proven himself to be a valuable member of this family, but he can’t take the
place of my only son.”
to hear the words from his father, Stormy gave an elated nod. He decided this was a good time to bring up
his suspicions about his brother-in-law.
“You know, Dad, I have some concerns about Brett. I’m not so sure he’s as valuable as you think
James wheeled closer to him. “How do you
didn’t want to get into the whole mess with Lauren and the way Brett had
cheated on Miranda, because by now it was water under the bridge and nobody
would take him seriously. “You know his
history, Dad. He spent his whole life
conning people just to get by. Now he’s
the head of Sunset Studios. I’m just concerned that he might do something
to risk everything you’ve worked for.”
profitable business means taking risks.”
doesn’t it concern you that a con man is running your company? Don’t you wonder how he managed to get those
movie deals from Will Thomerson?”
paused and shrugged indifferently.
“All’s fair in business, especially when it
comes to Will Thomerson. You know how he tried stealing the studio
from me. As far as I’m concerned all
bets are off.”
of them noticed Brett as he started to enter the room. He paused in the doorway after hearing their
conversation, ducking back into the hallway safely out of view so he could
listen to every word.
don’t know,” Stormy said, shaking his head.
“I just have a feeling that he’s up to something no good.”
wouldn’t have anything to do with the way you two left things before you left
town last summer would it?”
sighed and dug his hands into his pockets.
“No, I’m talking about now. I
don’t trust him. This isn’t personal,
personal?” James asked doubtfully.
“Stormy, it’s understandable that you feel threatened by your sister’s
husband. I think you’re just letting
your imagination get the better of you.
I trust Brett to run things the way he sees fit.”
the hallway, Brett smiled with satisfaction.
He knew that James would be on his side.
Stormy was still an outsider in his own house. No one would give a second thought to his
that he wasn’t getting through to his father, Stormy ran his fingers through
his tousled hair and began to pace the room.
“The other day you asked me what I planned on doing now that I was
back,” he began. “Well I think I’ve
decided. I want to get involved with the
studio. I want to make you proud of me,
didn’t hide his surprise. “I thought you
weren’t interested in the movie business,” he began. “Your passion has always been music. You remember how upset I was when you said
you didn’t want to take part in Sunset
“Yes, but things are different now. I lost my recording studio and I’ve changed
my mind. I want to help as much as I can
until you’re up and on your feet.”
James smiled and folded his hands in his lap. “And I suppose you want me to send Brett
shrugged as if to say that’s exactly what
don’t know, Son. Brett has done a great
job running things. I don’t think I can
just ask him to step down.”
I’m your son,” Stormy argued. “If you’re
not running the show shouldn’t it be me? Your own flesh and blood?”
shook his head and pondered the idea. He
wanted to be fair to his son, but he couldn’t let Brett go just yet. He was doing good things at Sunset Studios. He needed him
there, especially since he’d
managed to one-up Will Thomerson.
we’ll talk about this later, okay?” James said.
“I don’t want to keep my bride waiting.”
sighed with aggravation and decided to shelf the topic for the time being. He would approach his father again
later. There was no way he was going to
back down and let Brett ruin everything.
in the hallway, Brett smiled gleefully.
He knew James wouldn’t hand over his studio to someone as unreliable as
Stormy. He was safe as a kitten. And now that he had taken steps to ensure
James would never walk again, he’d be running Sunset Studios forever.
Stormy would be left with nothing.
turned just as Heather and Miranda approached, leading the minister into the
library. “Are we all set?” he asked,
kissing Miranda on the cheek.
Miranda replied with a smile. They
started into the library when Heather grabbed Brett’s arm and pulled him
back. They quietly ducked around the
corner out of view as everyone gathered for the ceremony.
need to talk to you,” Heather said in a whisper.
Brett asked with irritation. “The
wedding’s about to start-“
will only take a minute,” Heather replied with wide eyes. “I haven’t seen the contract I asked
for. You remember, the one promising me
the lead in The Murderess.”
A devilish grin spread across Brett’s face as he leaned
against the wall. “About that, I don’t
think that you’re right for this role. I
have a few other actresses in mind.”
glared at him menacingly, blocking him from walking past her. “You promised
me that role in exchange for getting you the script from Will Thomerson,” she
lamented. “I had to sleep with him, Brett. I had
to let him put his hands all over me just so I could make my way into his life
and steal for you. You owe me big.
If I don’t get that part, I swear to God I’ll-“
what?” Brett challenged her. “If you tell Thomerson that you took the
script and gave it to me, he’ll destroy you.”
laughed wickedly. “He won’t care. The rules don’t apply when it comes to his
vendetta against Will Thomerson. You
should know that. Heather, you don’t
have anything to hold against me. I’m in
the clear. Why don’t you go to your
father and ask him to give you a role in one of his movies? You just don’t have what it takes to star in
a Sunset Studios film.”
Heather cowered away in anger, feeling her eyes stinging
with tears. She’d made a horrible mistake. If she hadn’t stolen the movie deal from
Will, he would have put her in the film.
But instead she supplied Brett with what he needed and was still going
to end up with nothing. It was a bitter
irony that left her feeling cold and empty.
Everyone began taking their places inside the
library. The minister stood in front of
the fireplace with James and Stormy at his side. Brett approached and took his place, followed
by a reluctant Heather who stood next to Miranda.
Moments later, Brooke entered the room in her satin
wedding gown, smiling from ear to ear as she walked up and stood next to
James. They looked at each other for a
long time, the joy building with every second.
stood before them and began the ceremony.
Ethan entered Will’s
study at the Thomerson estate and found him seated behind his desk with a
thoroughly infuriated look on his face.
He took a deep breath and approached with a tentatively uneasy feeling
in the pit of his stomach.
you go see James?” he asked.
lot of good it did me,” Will replied.
“My new neighbor up the street
claims he knows nothing about what’s going on with his studio. But I don’t believe it for a second. There’s no way he would pass up an
opportunity to try to bring me down. He
even had the nerve to accuse you of
Ethan asked in disbelief. He knew his
uncle was furious with him, but to accuse him of something so devious was too
much. He hesitated briefly, trying to
determine whether telling Will about Heather’s deception was a good idea or
not. It was clear that he had no clue
that she’d been spying. Telling him
would break him, he was sure of it.
Somehow Will had grown attached to Heather and in his own way maybe even
loved her. Maybe by simply telling her he
was on to her would put an end to it and he could leave it alone for the time
seems that your uncle and Brooke Taylor are remarrying today,” Will said as he
flipped through the society pages in the Times. “If you ask me it’s for the best. They deserve each other. I know you were upset when she chose him over
you, but honestly I think you’re better off, Ethan.”
barely acknowledged the remark. Even the
thought of Brooke and James together again was enough to drive him insane. How she could have gone back to him after
everything they’d shared together was beyond him. They
were the ones in love. Or at least they
used to be. For a while, when he
thought the baby she was carrying was his, he assumed they would get back
together. But after her announcement
claiming that James was indeed the father, he’d lost all hope.
Brooke and I had is in the past,” Ethan said, as if trying to make himself believe
the words as he spoke them.
“I’ve moved on.”
studied his expression and gave a nod of his head. “Listen, why don’t you go home. It’s Saturday and I’m sure you’re not into
work mode right now. I’ll see you on
pursed his lips together and nodded before leaving the study and returning to
his car outside in the driveway. Will
leaned back in his rich leather chair and picked up the newspaper with the
picture of James on the front.
or later I’ll bring you down, James Blackthorne,” he said to himself, lifting a
glass of bourbon to his lips. “I’ll take
everything from you. Your nephew, your
studio, your sanity. And then I’ll take
Alex Reynolds down with you. Then Jordan
Rydell and his daughter. They’re just as
bad as you are.” He opened a drawer and
removed a copy of the paper announcing Alex and Jordan’s wedding several months
before. The picture of them on the
society page was enough to make him see red.
get you all. And Heather Blackthorne may
be the one thing I need to do it.” He
set the paper down next to the picture of James and looked at his three enemies
as if they were in the room with him.
“You sent a spy to my house to ruin my company and I’ll pay you back in
spades. I promise you that.”
an evil grin, he swirled the dark liquid around in his glass and swallowed it
down with one gulp.
short while later, Ethan sat at the bar in the lounge at Hotel Terranova, drowning his sorrows in shot after shot of
whiskey. He looked around the crowded
room, noting the elegant woman clad in lavish gowns dancing with men in suits
and tuxedos. He felt a little out of
place in his wrinkled suit and loosened tie hung shoddily around his neck. It certainly wasn’t his best night, or year for that matter. Brooke, the woman he’d loved, and possibly
still did, was now married once again to his uncle, who had subsequently exiled
him from his life. The baby he’d hoped
he would have the opportunity to raise wasn’t his after all, and he was stuck
working a lackluster job for a man he didn’t particularly like.
ordering another drink from the bartender, he turned on his stool just as a
ravishing raven-haired woman with flawless skin and dazzling dark eyes sat down
next to him. He couldn’t help but look
twice. Something about her was
have a dry vodka martini,” said Janet Harper to the bartender with a wave of a
“I’ll get that,” Ethan said with a
sheepish grin as he paid for his own drink.
turned to him and smiled appreciatively.
“Well thank you,” she said. “But
I have to caution you, if this is a pick-up I’ve really had a day from hell and
I don’t know that I’m in the mood.”
laughed at her candor and shook his head.
“No, I just thought you looked like you could use a friend,” he
said. “And I guess I was right. Neither of us have had a very good day I’m
too?” she asked with a laugh and accepted the drink from the bartender. “Are you a guest in the hotel?”
shook his head. “No, just here drowning
see that.” She extended her hand to
him. “I’m Janet Harper.”
Blackthorne,” he replied.
tossed her long black hair over her shoulder and set her drink down. “Hmmm,” she said ominously.
“I seem to keep running into Blackthornes lately,” she
said. “So who are you? Another son of James the movie mogul?”
nephew,” Ethan corrected her. “How do
you know the Blackthornes?”
idly turned her drink in circles on the napkin and stared in a daze at the
shimmering liquid. “I’m a reporter for
the Denver Tribune. I was following a lead on a story in Phoenix
last week and spotted Brooke
Taylor. I’d heard that James Blackthorne
had been trying to locate her for quite some time, so-“
you’re the reporter who brought them
back together,” Ethan said. “I’m
assuming he owes you a big debt of gratitude.
They got married today, you know.”
raised an eyebrow and studied his expression. “You don’t seem too happy about
that,” she said. “Do I detect a hint of
smiled. “You are a reporter, aren’t you?” he asked. “That’s the only explanation for your
perceptive nature.” He sipped his drink
and turned to face her directly. “So
what are you doing in L.A.? Did my uncle
promise you a reward and you’re still waiting around for the payoff?”
I’m working on another story here,” she said.
“I’m staying at Hotel
Terranova while I’m in town."
then you must have met James’s daughter, Miranda Armstrong. She runs this place.”
heard that,” Janet said. “And he has a
son, correct? Ryan, isn’t it?”
nodded. “Except he goes by Stormy.”
“Right. I think we’ve met in passing.”
you seem to be very acquainted with the Blackthornes,” Ethan said. “I’m sorry
that we haven’t met sooner, Miss
Harper.” He couldn't help but flirt a
little. A woman as attractive as Janet
Harper was hard to ignore.
am I,” Janet replied with a wink. She
stepped off the bar stool and grabbed her purse. “Will you excuse me for just a moment?”
nodded and watched as Janet made her way through the lounge toward the ladies
room. As she passed the hotel
concierge, he stopped her and offered a pleasant smile.
Harper, is everything satisfactory with your stay?” the concierge asked.
smiled in return. “Yes, very much
so. Thank you.”
“Good. And I see you met up with Mr. Blackthorne."
He gestured to the bar where Ethan was sitting. “I’m glad you were able to find him.”
nodded and clasped her hands together.
“Yes, thank you so much for calling me in my room and telling me he was
here,” she said. “I really appreciate
your discretion in this matter.”
pleasure, Miss Harper,” the concierge said before turning and starting back
toward the hotel lobby.
that night, James and Brooke were in their bedroom upstairs. After she helped him into bed, she changed
into a lacy powder blue nightgown and stepped out of the bathroom with a
radiant smile on her face. James looked
up at her and moaned with approval. He’d
never seen her look so beautiful, even the day they got married the first
time. Being pregnant agreed with Brooke
and she didn’t loose a trace of her feminine quality.
Mrs. Blackthorne,” he said.
grinned from ear to ear and clasped her hands together. “I love the sound of that,” she said. “James, I think this is the happiest day of
my life. I can’t begin to apologize for
all the trouble I’ve caused you.”
he said. “The past is the past. I’m just glad that you’re here with me now
and you’re my wife again. And before you
know it we’ll have a beautiful baby to share our joy with. You’ve made me the happiest man in the
rubbed her pregnant stomach and sighed with frustration. “I’m only sorry that tonight can’t be as
special as our wedding night should be,” she said. “But at this late stage of my pregnancy, Dr.
Mitchell says I shouldn’t….you know.”
gave her a wink and nodded his head. “I
can wait,” he said. “Just having you
here is more than enough to satisfy me.”
felt awkward about bringing up the subject but she decided now was as good a
time as any. “James, speaking of us
having sex….” She paused, taking a few steps toward the bed. “Can you…I mean, does your paralysis prevent
at all,” he said with a chuckle, patting the side of the bed with his
hand. “We’ll just have to get creative
with how we do it.”
because as soon as this baby comes I plan on making up for the past few
months,” she said with a grin.
raised an eyebrow and gazed longingly at her.
forget to take those pills Gwen left for you,” Brooke said as she sat down in
bed next to him and gestured to the nightstand.
“And I don’t want to hear any complaining. You’ve had a busy day and you need to follow
groaned with disapproval as he swallowed the pills down with a glass of
water. “Sometimes I wonder if she’s as
good a nurse as she claims to be,” he said.
“It seems like the last few days her therapy has done nothing but make
me feel weak and exhausted all the time.
I had more feeling in my legs weeks ago than I do now.”
frowned and put a hand alongside his face.
“That doesn’t seem right,” she said with concern. “Is she maybe working you too hard?”
shrugged. “No more than usual. It’s probably all these pills she’s cramming
down my throat every time I turn around.”
pulled the covers over her body and nestled against the pillow. “I’m sure she knows what she’s doing,” she
said. “She came with recommendations,
nodded. “Yeah, I suppose. I guess it’s just the excitement of the last
few days that’s taken a toll on me.
Maybe now that things are calmer I’ll start making some progress again.”
held onto the cold, steel metal of the shoulder press bars as Brett entered her
from behind. The sweat ran from his face
as he worked feverishly at pleasing her.
Minutes later, she collapsed onto the bench in the gym at the
Blackthorne mansion and panted with exhaustion.
barely recovered from his workout, quickly pulled on his lounge pants and wiped
his face and chest with a towel. “You’d
better hurry and get dressed,” he said between taking gulps of air. “This house is too full to be taking chances
languidly reached for her robe, slightly put off by Brett’s cold post-coital
manners. “Well no one twisted your arm,
you know,” she barked and quickly got dressed.
“You were the one who started this affair, you know.”
her mood shift, he instinctively put a hand gently alongside her face and
caressed it softly. “Hey, I didn’t mean
anything. I just think we have a good
thing going here and I don’t want to risk blowing it.”
mean you don’t want to risk blowing your cushy lifestyle here,” she corrected
him with a hint of sarcasm in her voice.
“Well I get it. Maybe you’d be
happier if we just called this whole thing off.
You can get your jollies from your wife from now on.”
sighed and dropped her hands to her sides.
“I don’t know,” she said with resignation. “It’s just that Mr. Blackthorne has been
having a hard time with our therapy lately.
Ever since I started giving him those pills you gave me.”
to panic, Brett calmly folded his arms across his chest and tried to appear
unphased by her concern. “I don’t think
one thing has anything to do with the other,” he began with calculated
coolness. “I told you those pills were
just a mood enhancer. If anything they
should be increasing his drive to start walking again.”
hesitated and shrugged indifferently.
“Maybe I’ll ask a doctor. Just to
be safe. I wouldn’t want to get doing
anything that could cause him a setback.”
Brett exclaimed loudly, then immediately regretted his outburst. He could see the shocked look on Gwen’s
face. “I mean, there’s no need for that. I told you my therapist prescribed them to
me. There’s no side effects. I should know.”
I don’t know what else to think.”
James is reaching a point where he’s feeling the effects of the therapy,” Brett
said eagerly. “You know, you’re working
him harder so he’s feeling drained. I’m
sure it’s a natural scenario.”
shrugged and attempted a smile. “I guess
you’re probably right,” she said. “I’ll
wait and see what happens in the next few days.”
Brett said with a relieved smile. He
couldn’t let his plan to permanently immobilize James be ruined. Because as soon as James was up and walking
again, he would return to his position at Sunset
Studios. Then he’d be left with
nothing but playing tennis all day at Hotel
Terranova like the lackey husband of a spoiled Daddy’s girl.
next morning, Stormy sat on the shoulder press bench in the gym at the
Blackthorne mansion, pulling the steel bar down with brute force, grunting and
sweating with every repetition.
he finished his set, he stood up and grabbed a fresh towel from the bin nearby
and blotted his face and neck. He
started across the room just as Brett entered dressed in his workout clothes. Their eyes locked briefly until the tension
was interrupted when James wheeled into the room. He appeared pale and weak, his eyes glossed
over and his breathing shallow.
are you okay?” Stormy asked, suddenly forgetting about Brett. “You don’t look very good.”
loosened his collar and nodded dismissively.
“Yes, I’m just a little tired,” he said and quickly changed the
subject. “Listen, I’m glad you’re both
here because there’s something I want to talk to you about.”
is it, James?” Brett asked, always prepared to jump when asked.
I want you to know how much I appreciate everything you’ve done for me and
Miranda, and most importantly for Sunset
Studios,” James began. “You’ve done
an excellent job.”
gulped and nodded with a vague smile. He
didn’t like the direction James’s announcement was going. “You’re welcome, sir. It’s the least I could do.”
watched Brett squirm and wondered if his father had decided to listen to him
about Brett after all. He could only
hope. It was about time someone knocked
Brett off his high horse and put him in his place.
Stormy’s back home now and I couldn’t be happier,” James went on. “To have my son and daughter in the same
house again is like a dream come true for me.
However, I also know that you, Brett, are partly the reason that Miranda
is still here. And although it’s
selfish, it makes me happy, so I have to thank you for that.”
and Stormy listened intently, hanging on James’s every word.
I’ve done a lot of thinking and I’ve decided that while I’m here at home
recuperating, I’d like you both to
run Sunset Studios for me,” James
declared. “You’ll both divide the
responsibilities and be equals in the business.
I hope you can handle that.”
news came as a shattering blow to Brett.
What kind of thankless dribble was James spouting? Since he’d taken over running the business,
things had been better than they had in years.
They had acquired some of the top movies and stars in the business. And it was all thanks to him. Now he was reducing his responsibilities so
he could give his son a handout? No, it
that’s great,” Stormy said with a smile.
He was pleased to be back in his father’s good graces, but still
couldn’t help but be a little skeptical of Brett’s continued influence on the
business. At least now he’d have the
opportunity to keep an eye on him.
that’s great news,” Brett said, feigning excitement.
I count on the two of you to get along and work together without any problems?”
James asked with a furrowed brow.
“Because I don’t want any horns locking.
If you can’t make this thing work then I’ll have to hire someone from
the outside to run things, and God knows I don’t want an outsider running my
studio for me.”
think we can manage,” Stormy said with a smirk.
I think so,” Brett said, turning to Stormy and firmly shaking his hand. “I’ll look forward to teaching Stormy some
things I’ve learned in the last few months.”
James said just as Gwen entered the room and handed him his pills and a cup of
water. “God damnit. What are these things supposed to do anyway?”
Gwen assured him, giving Brett a brief once-over as James took the pills as
they’d gone, Stormy gave Brett a threatening glare and patted him on the
shoulder before leaving the room. Brett
gritted his teeth and angrily kicked the side of the treadmill. He hadn’t expected this to happen. Stormy was going to come in and try to show
him up and take away everything he’d worked for.
have to be ready for battle. Stormy
Blackthorne wouldn’t know what hit him by the time he got through with
made her way into the dining room from the kitchen. She scouted around and noticed a breeze coming
through the floor to ceiling windows on the far wall off the room. The curtains billowed inside and she
frowned, taking a few
steps forward and noticing that the window was wide open. Frowning, she reached over to close it when
she heard a noise from behind.
around quickly, she saw a dark figure move across the room. The intruders face was hidden by the shadows
and she cowered away in fear. Frozen
for a second, the figure darted to the left, then to the right, knocking over a
tray of silver service to the floor and causing a clanging racket.
She heard James in
the foyer calling after her and she opened her mouth to scream for him. By the time she did, the intruder was rushing
past her and flying back out the window.
Seconds later, James
wheeled himself into the dining room and flashed Brooke a look of panic and
concern. “Darling, what is it?”
Her eyes closed
briefly and then fluttered. Moments
later she slumped to the floor unconscious.
Brooke woke and found
herself lying in her own bed upstairs.
James sat next to her in his chair while Gwen dabbed a cold cloth on her
forehead. She looked around to get her
bearings and sat up with a start.
“Shhh,” Gwen said
soothingly. “You fainted. Just take it easy for a few minutes.”
“What?” Brooke said,
“Darling, are you all
right?” James asked, holding her hand in his.
“I heard you scream and you turned white as a ghost. What happened?”
After catching her
breath, Brooke laid back down and tried to calm her nerves. “There was a man,” she said breathlessly.
“A man?” James asked
with a frown.
She nodded. “Someone.
A man. He came in through the
window in the dining room. He was
wearing all black. Then you called for
me and he went back out the window.”
James and Gwen
exchanged looks and then Gwen felt her forehead. “You’re a little warm,” she said. “Sometimes in later stages of pregnancy your
imagination can run overdrive.”
She shook her head
insistently. “It wasn’t my imagination,”
she said in a panic. “I saw a man in the
house. And the other day outside the boutique..."
saw him at the boutique? Did you get a look
at his face?” James asked.
concentration, Brooke shook her head in frustration. “No, but I know what I
saw. It was a man – or someone – a
person. James, you have to believe me.”
He nodded and patted
her hand lightly. “I do, Darling.” He backed up in his chair and started for the
door. “I’m going to have every inch of
the grounds checked.”
Gwen followed him out
into the hallway and caught up with him.
“Mr. Blackthorne, let me go,”
she said. “You should stay with your
“Don’t tell me what I
should do,” James insisted. “If my wife
says someone broke into our house in the middle of the day then I’m not just
going to sit back and do nothing. Now
help me down the stairs.”
“I don’t think that’s
a good idea,” Gwen insisted. “You’re
upset. You need to calm down and let
someone else handle this.”
Refusing to let her
talk him out of it, James wheeled himself over to the landing and lowered the
footrests. “Fine, then I’ll get down by
myself,” he said and began pulling himself up out of the chair. He knew he could do it. There were times when he had moments of
strength where he felt that he could stand on his own. Maybe the adrenaline caused by Brooke’s spell
was enough to propel him to find the strength.
don’t!” Gwen cried and tried to push him back down in the chair.
They struggled for a
moment and James pushed her away, sending her crashing into the wall in the
hallway. He summoned all of this
strength and slowly rose to his feet.
For a split second he felt on top of the world. Not since before the surgery had he been able
to stand on his own.
Struggling, he moved
his left foot forward and stepped down onto the first stair, the sensation
elating him from head to toe. Suddenly
he felt an overwhelming sense of weakness and his knees buckled, sending him
crashing to the stairs and tumbling down all the way to the bottom landing in
Gwen jumped to her
feet and looked down the stairs in horror.
James was lying motionless, his eyes closed and his face pale and
Alex receives a visitor
from the past. Dr. Farraday finds something
suspicious in James's bloodstream. Gwen gets
surprising news. 4th of July celebrations
are clouded with uncertainty.